DOWNTOWN A memorial service celebrating the life of community activist Clyde Smith, who died last week after a brief illness, will be held this Saturday at the First United Methodist Church.

As executive director of the now defunct Neighborhood Redevelopment Corporation (NRDC), Smith helped rehab hundreds of housing units for the elderly and low-income families in Santa Monica.

He also served actively in many of the Westside area service organizations, including the Rotary Club of Santa Monica, Santa Monica Red Cross, Pico Neighborhood Association, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Monica College Advisory Board, among others.

“Clyde was like the welcoming committee to the neighborhood,” said David Pisarra, a Daily Press columnist, attorney and neighbor of Smith’s. “He would sit outside his house propped up by the fire hydrant waving to, and greeting everyone as they passed. He was that guy who knew everybody.

I’d frequently stop while walking my dog and have a 30-minute conversation with him about the goings on in the hood. He’ll be sorely missed.”

Smith along with former Mayor, Nat Trives, co-founded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition and remained a very active participant in its work. At the time of his death, Smith was also chairman of the Salvation Army Corps in Santa Monica.

“Clyde will be remembered and missed as the village wise man, who generously shared his counsel, good advice and loving support with all, young and old, who were troubled in spirit or needed to be pointed in the right direction,” Trives, a longtime friend, said. “He gave unselfishly of his time and efforts to make our world a better place.”

Clyde, a USC alumnus, served in the Marine Corps and fought in the Vietnam war.

Some of his hobbies included jazz music and singing.

“He faithfully attended the Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood each year,” Trives said. “He sang with and was president of the Dave Weston Singers, a local Gospel ensemble which performs both locally and statewide at civic and religious engagements. He was a church leader and an exemplary family man.”

Smith is survived by his wife of 38 years, Rosemary, and their son, Sean (daughter-in-law Elizabeth) and seven grandchildren.

The memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. at the church, located at 1008 11th St. A repast following the service will be held in Simkins Hall, located in the Shelby Center adjacent to the sanctuary.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Santa Monica chapter of the Salvation Army.

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